My name is Mandy Beasley, I'm a PhD candidate at the National Marine Science Centre through Southern Cross University. At the moment I'm currently researching cuttlefish in Northern New South Wales water, looking at their life history and behaviour.
What I enjoy most about the industry is going out in the field and doing amazing field work and also coming back into the lab and doing really good research. The biggest thing I look forward to every day is coming and hoping to find something that no one else has discovered and also just coming to work and doing something that I absolutely am passionate about and that I love.
I kind of fell into my PhD project. I went to a seminar here at the National Marine Science Centre about cuttlefish. There was a previous researcher here that did her PhD on them and she was just highlighting the lack of knowledge on species around here and in general and I put my hand up, and ended up falling into my PhD project though that. After I completed my undergrad(uate) degree, I had a job with an environmental laboratory up in Brisbane as a laboratory assistant and then I applied for a job down in Adelaide and got that which was for two and a half years with the department for water with the South Australian government.
One of the biggest highlights of my degree would probably be the mixture of both field and lab work.
The facilities at Southern Cross University are really great. Especially here at the National Marine Science Centre where we have salt water on tap and really great aquaculture facilities.
I would say university has helped me in my career by giving me really good contacts and also just giving me the skills required for different job opportunities.
We placed these marine creatures in 20 large musicals or tanks that simulate both present and future ocean conditions.
We conducted three experiments to evaluate how temperature and the presence of invasive seaweed can change how much snails consumed seaweed.
Our results clearly showed that warming oceans increased consumption of two common native algal species because snails were hungry and increased their aggression rate.
Importantly however for the common kelp, invasion actually reduces this increased consumption in warmer temperature and we think that was because the chemicals that leach from the invasive seaweed inhibit grazing by snails under warmer conditions.
Ocean warming and invasion together had a positive feedback for kelp by reducing kelp loss through snail grazing.
This suggests that invasion may sometimes be positive in future oceans in this case enhancing the persistence of kelp in warming oceans where they might otherwise be over grazed.